It’s common knowledge that Brighton is one of the coolest cities in the UK. With a beach, two art schools and a long reputation as a countercultural stronghold, how couldn’t it be? But what are the best places to check out in this popular destination? Here is a handpicked selection of some retro establishments worthy of your attention.

Best for drinking: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

Named after the legendary basement bar in Manhattan, Sticky Mike’s is everything you could wish for from an offbeat, arty drinking den. Here you’ll find DJs spinning tunes from cult eras including Northern Soul, Acid House and Grunge until late into the night. Along with the Green Door Store, it’s also a popular live music venue with touring underground bands, forthcoming gigs by Acid Mothers Temple and The Telescopes.

Best for clothing: Beyond Retro

Brightonians jumped for joy a few years ago with the arrival of a huge new Beyond Retro, saving them the pricey pilgrimage to London’s Brick Lane or Dalston. This former bus depot is all about maximalism, with tens of thousands of handpicked items updated every week. It’s true that girls have a wider selection than guys, but everyone should find something neat to take away with them, from shoes, clothes or a fancy dress costume for Halloween.

Best for vinyl: Wax Factor

Looking for the best record shop in town? It’s got to be North Laine’s treasure trove of dusty vinyl, Wax Factor. This Brighton institution has been going strong since the Eighties and is still the best place to pick up an original pink label Kinks LP or a copy of The Queen is Dead on vinyl. Just don’t go there with too much of a plan. Flip through the crates of LPs and 45s on the floor until something jumps out and grabs your attention.

Best for coffee: Marwood Café

Brighton’s finest retro-tinged coffee shop, Marwood’s takes its interior design inspiration from some kind of twisted childhood fantasy. Walls are plastered with Star Wars action figures, fashion mannequins and weird paintings, while staff serve up the most kick ass coffee and life-changing cake this side of Shoreditch. Another bonus is there’s always something nice playing on the sound system (think Fleetwood Mac meets Public Enemy) and a nice sheltered spot out the front to sit and watch the world go by.

If you’ve never been to Brighton before, here’s a cool skateboarding tour of the city to give you a feel for the area:


Video credit: HotelClub Brighton

Don’t forget to check out Vintage Brighton for the ultimate guide to Brighton’s vintage scene!

One Response

  1. Carol

    Beyond Retro is good, but it does have the hallmarks of a chain and is far from the best source of vintage clothing in town. I’d rate Snooper’s Paradise, the Upper Gardner Street market (Saturdays), the Marina flea market (Sundays 7am–noon), Wardrobe on Upper North Street (proper, well-curated antique clothing) and Bobby And Dandy (Blatchington Road, Hove) as the best in town.

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